Helvetica is a widely used san-serif typeface created by Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann in 1957. Originally called Neue Haas Grotesk, its design was based on Schelter-Grotesk and Haas' Normal Grotesk. The design of Helvetica occurred during post war Europe. The designers set out to build a new typeface that could compete with the successful Akzidenz-Grotesk in the Swiss market while creating the sense of immense readability and clarity for signage and other text. In 1960 the name was finally changed to Helvetica in order to make the typeface more marketable internationally while the name comes from the Swiss goddess Helvetia.
The design of Helvetica occurred during post war Europe. Companies were looking for a change from the gaudy decorative motifs crowding corporate ads. When Helvetica was created a new age in the face of design was created. The sleek and sensible design of the typeface gave a modern, clean look The typeface started in only light and medium but once italic, bold and others joined the mix a whole new world of opportunity erupted. After over 50 years of Helvetica the typeface is still as strong as ever. In a sense it revolutionized typography to give it a modern feel to what it was. Helvetica is used in signs, advertisements, logos, copy and just about anything else typographically speaking. It is used in many popular logos worldwide including, Toyota, Jeep, Sears and many others.
The man in the video is seen using a letterpress to print the word Helvetica on the paper. Letterpress printing is a type of relief printing. A person would set the blocks of type, ink it, then press paper over it to transfer the ink. The first letterpress was created by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century and with minor industrialization the same invention was used until about the 19th century for books and other things. Although few letterpress printers are used today the art form still remains.